May 25th, 2011
As I read the headline today: “US Stocks up”, I was a bit put off by the (even if slightly) ambiguous nature of this statement. Does it mean that US stock markets are trading higher today, or does it mean that US companies are stocking up with larger portions of supplies? From the context, a lot can be inferred, but do you find it acceptable that we have to look at the context to infer what a headline means? Or does the mere fact that two perfectly valid sentences with entirely different meanings can be exactly the same, cause you to squirm? (It makes me squirm, because the word “stocks” can be both a noun and a verb, and I just can’t be sure what it is in this case.)
Now I am sure ambiguity has its advantages – poetry, funny pictures, man trying to answer if his wife looks fat, etc, but a news headline is not exactly the place where I find ambiguity to be so critical.
And that brings us to Esperanto – the magical language where ALL nouns have to end in “o” and all present tense verbs have to end in “as”. How would these sentences be written in Esperanto? Well, I don’t know Esperanto, but I am happy to take a pass at it using the grammar, as described here.
Usonaj stockoj tradas upo. (US stocks are trading up.)
Usonaj companoj stockas upo. (US companies are stocking up.)
Whether or not I have it correctly here, the marked difference in the two sentences in Esperanto is refreshing.